im Rückblick (2012) by Daniel Tacke
for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
2014 Earplay Donald Aird Composers Competition winner

"If only we had known then what we know now."

im Rückblick is a return — a remaking — of a set of ideas that once led to an entirely different piece... an apparition of what might have been. It is also part of an ongoing series that focuses on cultivating careful listening relationships between the members of an ensemble — works that have tended to be somewhat private as artistic statements, yet provide (at least in my view) some of the richest opportunities to address experiential paradigms of listening, both in terms of material and structure. There is resistance in this music, but there is great opportunity as well.

In this particular work, an opening motive summarizes the music's capacity for growth and coherence, while hinting at its secrets. As the piece unfolds, this melodic fragment functions primarily as a means of voicing alternate threads of activity — developments of register, timbre, and especially texture — serving as a template that both articulates and regulates expressivities in these areas.

What is it that makes a sound musical? What gives it significance in a context of other sounds in time? Answers are often clearest in retrospect ("im R├╝ckblick"), and in many ways the piece is an attempt to provide an opportunity for such listening, to reach back into the past and capture something that has been lost... a faint resonance of memory, closer to truth.

If only we knew now what we had known then.

— D. T.    

[from program for March 16, 2015 concert]